Vanity Fair’s latest edition is graced by Oscar Award – winning actor, Viola Davis as photographed by Dario Calmese, a Black photographer.
The African American actress and producer having won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, is the first Black actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.
In 2015, Viola became the first Black woman ever to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama for ‘How to Get Away With Murder.’
In 2017, she won an Oscar for her supporting role as Rose Maxson in ‘Fences’—a part for which she also collected a Tony.
Today, she is using her own production company to give young Black actors a platform—in every stage of their careers. “There’s not enough opportunities out there to bring that unknown, faceless Black actress to the ranks of the known. To pop her!”
How did she start though?
Davis was raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father found work as a horse groom at nearby racetracks and her mother took on domestic and factory jobs. Their income was frequently insufficient to support the family, and they endured grim rat-infested apartments and occasional food shortages.
As a child, Davis began acting in school productions and theatre competitions. She enrolled at Rhode Island College, where she majored in theatre and graduated in 1988. She proceeded to the Young Peoples School for the Performing Arts in Rhode Island on scholarship before attending the Juilliard School, from which she graduated in 1994.
In 1996 Davis made her Broadway debut in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, in which she played the long-suffering paramour of a musician recently released from prison, a performance that earned her a Tony Award nomination. And she didn’t stop there, nor has she stopped since.
In this Vanity Fair article, Davis talks about her upbringing in poverty and life in Hollywood, as well as participating in the recent wave of protests following the death of George Floyd.
“My entire life has been a protest,” Davis says. “My production company is my protest. Me not wearing a wig at the Oscars in 2012 was my protest. It is a part of my voice, just like introducing myself to you and saying, ‘Hello, my name is Viola Davis.'”
Davis, 55, is best known for her role in “Fences,” for which she won the 2017 Academy Award for best supporting actress, and we are twice as excited for her new role coming, where she is set to play former first lady Michelle Obama in a one-hour drama titled “First Ladies.”
The July/August Vanity Fair edition is the first time a Black photographer has shot the cover, and this accomplishment comes as calls for American fashion media to highlight more Black perspectives have become more urgent and widespread.
Viola Davis has represented the Black community and Black women in tremendous ways, and we couldn’t be more proud to love and appreciate her. She is amazing!